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This information was taken from the Content Review Manual for The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES). Field 154: English as a Second Language Supplemental. Region VIII

Domain I - Linguistics

Language Concepts & Language Acquisition

Competency 1

CONCEPTS. The ESL teacher understands fundamental language concepts, and knows the structure and conventions of English language.


The ability speakers have to produce and understand an unlimited number of familiar, unfamiliar and/or novel utterances. The ability speakers have to recognize that certain utterances are not acceptable and simply do not belong to their language.

Grammatical competence

Knowledge of lexical items and rules of morphology, syntax, semantics and phonology.

Discourse competence

The ability the learner has to connect sentences in stretches of discourse and to form meaningful utterances.

Socio-linguistic competence

The knowledge of socio-cultural rules of language and discourse. An understanding of the social context is required: roles of participants, information they share, and the function of the interaction.

Strategic competence

All the non-verbal and verbal communication skills the learner uses to compensate for breakdowns due to insufficient competence or variables related to performance. In other words, this is the way learners manipulate language in order to communicate what they want.




System of sounds. The PATTERNING of SPEECH SOUNDS.


The SMALLEST UNITS of MEANINGFUL SOUND (just the sound-not the letters) ex: sun - has 3 sounds s-u-n; beet - has 3 sounds b-ee-t.


Sounds that occur in a particular phonetic environment (word- initial position, word- middle position, or word-final position) ex: Pam-pronounced Pham.


How words are built or WORD FORMATION.


The SMALLEST UNIT of LANGUAGE that carries information about meaning or function. Morphemes cannot be divided in smaller parts. Ex: walk-walking (ing), climb-climbing (ing), attentive-attentively (ly).


The variant FORMS OF A MORPHEME ex: a before a word that begins with a consonant, an before a word that begins with a vowel; an orange, an accent, an eagle, a building, a car.


The ARRANGEMENTS of SENTENCES and words or sentence formation (SENTENCE STRUCTURE, GRAMMAR).


The MEANING of WORDS or the interpretation of words and sentences (EXPRESSIONS, EXPLAIN).


The MEANING of a word in a DICTIONARY.




The use of LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL CONTEXTS; sociolinguistic awareness.


The connected series of utterances produced during a conversation, a story, a lecture, etc.

Discourse analysis

Rules of conversation, speech registers, and nonverbal communication, ex: body language, gestures, eye contact, physical distance, etc.


The way speakers use language in different styles depending on the context of a topic, audience, situation, experience and purpose of the communication. Ex: informal conversation with a friend versus formal interview for a job.

Social Communicative competence

Grammatical, Discourse, Socio-linguistic, Strategic reflect on second language teacher according to Canale and Swain.


Limited English Proficiency. A student whose primary language is other than English and whose English language skills are such that the student has difficulty performing ordinary class work in English.


English Language Learner is used interchangeably with LEP.

Language Abilities/Skills/Modes/Acquisition

Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing.

Receptive Skills

Listening and Reading

Productive/Expressive Skills

Speaking and Writing


Listening and Speaking


Reading and Writing

Language and Culture Interrelated

To learn a language is to learn a culture. Language patterns and use are different in different cultures. Native language proficiency contributes to second language acquistion. The better you are in your first language, the better you will be in a second language. Transfer knowledge from L1 to L2.


First language, native language, mother tongue, primary language, home language.


Second language.

Language borrowing

Words that we borrow from other languages. Ex: sombrero can mean any kid of hat; barbecue from barbacoa, a word of Caribbean origin.

Language Interference

Phonological Interference, Syntactical Interference from the first language (negative transfer). Ex: I speak Spanish would translate I espeak Espanish, since Spanish does not allow s consonant sequences word-initially.

Phonological Differences

Different pronunciation (accent).

Lexical Differences

Differences in word meaning.

Syntactical Differences

Differences in grammar use.


The alternate use of two languages in the same word, phrase, clause or sentence or conversation. The 1st language is emotional language. It is spoken when mad, excited, scared, etc.

Language Development

Babble, Holophrastic Speech, Telegraphic Speech.


The combination of a consoant sound and a vowel sound that is repeated. Ex: ga, ga, ga.

Holophrastic Speech

Use of one word utterance to convey meaning (12-18 months). Ex: juice for I want juice.

Telegraphic Speech

Use of two word utterance to convey meaning (18-24 months). Ex: Doggie all gone for The dog is gone.


Differences between varieties of languages. Regional dialects often have distinct vocabularies.

Standard Dialect

Speech variety understood by all speakers; educated speech; language of the group in power.


Repeating the same consonant sound at the beginning of several words in close successon. Ex: map, make, mop


The part of the word before the vowel.


The rest of the word begining with the vowel. Ex: milk...../m/ - ilk.

Competency 2

The ESL teacher understands the processes of first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) acquisition and uses this knowledge to promote student's language development in English.

Functions Of Language

The main purpose of language is communication, interaction, and opportunity to transfer messages.

Behavioristic Approach

Language is learned by imitation and developed through a system of habits. For every action there is a reaction, repetition and reinforcement, stimulus and response, observable responses. The more you practice the more you learn. EX: if a particular response is reinforced, it then becomes habitual, or conditioned.

B. F. Skinner

Constructed a behavioristic model of linguistics. BEHAVIORISM.

Nativist Approach

Language is innately determined from within rather than by external factors. Human beings have an innate cognitive capacity for language. Human beings have a language acquisition device that enables them to generate language. Language use is creative, open-ended process and not a closed system of behavioral habits.

Noam Chomsky

Supported the concepts of innateness, and defended with strong arguments the LAD proposition. NATIVISM/GENERATIVISM.


Language Acquisition Device

Functional Approach

Language development is the result of the interaction of the child's perceptual and cognitive development with linguistic and nonlinguistic events in the environment.

Jean Piaget

Strong supporter of the Functional Approach. COGNITIVISM.


Language acqusition is a progression of abilities. Sensorimotor Stage, Preoperational Stage, Concrete Operational Stage, Formal Operational Stage.

First Language Acquistion Theories

Behaviorism, Nativism, Generativism, Cognitivism, Functional.

Sensorimotor Stage

Age 0 to 2, shows ideas using the body.

Preoperational Stage

Age 2-7, symbolic thought.

Concrete Operational Stage

Age 7-11, logical operations.

Formal Operational Stage

Age 11-beyond, abstract thinking skills.

Individual Variables

Individual characteristics: previous knowledge, age, aptitude, learning style, learning strategies and personality join with the social context to account for the use the second language learner makes of the formal (classroom) and informal (neighborhood) learning opportunities.

Social Variables

Second language learners may be influenced by the beliefs, traditions, behaviors, values and culture of the community in which they are placed. The social and cultural background of second language learners plays a very important role in the process of second language learning.

Lambert's Model

Combines the individual and societal elements of bilingualism: Attitudes, Aptitude, Motivation (ex: integrative, instrumental), Bilingual Proficiency, Self Concept, Additive Bilingualism, Subtractive Bilingualism.

Instrumental Motivation

Survival within the dominant group, making a living to succeed financially in the new country.

Subtractive Bilingualism

Learning a second language at the cost of loosing the first one. Since first language is one's emotional language, this type of bilingualism may be detrimental to one's whole being.

Integrative Motivation

Integration with the dominant group, meeting new people and new cultures.

Additive Bilingualism

Learning a second language while maintaining the first one.

Stephen Krashen's Monitor Model

This model is the most widely cited of theories of second language acquisition and is comprised of five central hypotheses: The Acqusition Learning Hypothesis, Natural Order Hypothesis, Monitor Hypothesis, Input Hypothesis, Affective Filter Hypothesis.

Acquisition Learning Hypothesis

Comes naturally via learning (formal setting) by explicit presentation of rules and grammar, classroom instruction, concious process. And via acquisition (informal setting) subconcious process, similar to the way children acquire their native language. (If info is meaningful, it will be internalized. If it doesn't make sense, it can not be internalized).

Natural Order Hypothesis

Internalize grammatical structures in a predictable order. Errors are signs of develpmental processes.

Monitor Hypothesis

The acquisition of a second langage involves conscious knowledge about correctness of a language. Occurs when there is sufficient time and conscious knowledge to communicate correctly.

Input Hypothesis

Acquisition of a second language can only be promoted in one way - comprehensible input. Messages must be prsented or encoded in a way that the message is easily understood (pictures, visuals, gestures and facial expressions work to make language more easily understood).

Affective Filter Hypothesis

Students must have a risk-free and comfortable environment in which to acquire and learn a second language. The needs and emotional states of students will affect whether or not input will be readily available and comprehensible to them. Create an environment free of emotional stress and anxiety.

Phonemic Awareness

The ability to RECOGNIZE THE SOUNDS in spoken language.

Phonological Awareness

The ability to RECOGNIZE THE SOUNDS in spoken language and how they can be SEGMENTED (pulled apart), BLENDED (put back together), and MANIPULATED (added, deleted and substituted).

Print and Book Knowledge

General knowledge of print and book concepts.

Alphabetic Principle/graphophonemic awareness

Understanding that the SEQUENCE OF LETTERS (or graphemes) in written words represents the sequence of sounds (or phonemes) in spoken words.


A combination of rate and accuracy that includes prosody, expression, appropriate phrasing and attention to punctuation. It is related to listening and reading comprehension, vocabulary develpment and motivation to read.


The understanding of what has been read aloud and what has been read by the student.

Written Expression

The expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas in written form.

The Silent Period/Stage

Students new to the English language should not be forced to communicate. Students should be allowed to build up linguistic competence by active listening via the comprehensive input (they need confidence). The language should emerge naturally.

Bilingual Program

A bilingual program is required in Texas grades Pre-K thru 6th if there are 20 same language students on the same grade level.

Communicative Competence

The ability to use language appropriately in a variety of contexts or situations.


Words that have the SAME MEANING: car/automobile, remember/recall, big/large.


Words that are OPPOSITES: boy/girl.


A word that has 2 or more related messages: bright-shining/intelligent; deposit-mineral/money in the bank.


Words have DISTINCT MEANING: piece, peace: right, write.

Language Objectives

Aspects of language the teacher is explicitly trying to develop that include: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

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